They’ve Torn Down My Favorite Building at WKU
Let's say I was a DECENT student when I attended Western Kentucky University. I made the Dean's List one time but earned my degree nonetheless.
It can be done.
And I also confess to having learned everything I really do NEED to know for my job and career SINCE I graduated. That's because none of what's necessary for work even EXISTED when I was in college. I'll also brag a little; I've taught MYSELF quite a few things, and I'm very proud of that.
But if I'm being honest, it was a whole series of INTANGIBLES that keep me revisiting WKU's campus from time to time. In other words, my SOCIAL education has gotten me a lot farther than my academic one. But please don't mistake that to mean I devalue the academics. I certainly don't. But I do enjoy heading back to Bowling Green to reminisce, to walk the university grounds, to see what buildings are unlocked so I can take a peek inside. It IS a public university, after all.
Well, (and you can cue the "sad" emoji right about now) my favorite building, among the many whose doors I walked through, is about to be torn down.
My freshman dorm--Barnes-Campbell Hall--is already gone. And now, Garrett Conference Center has met ITS fate at the hands of the wrecking ball.
The 70-year-old structure was the weekday social hub of Western Kentucky University. In addition to housing multiple classrooms and the offices of The College Heights Herald, the school's newspaper, it had a huge cafeteria that was perfect for midday catch-ups at lunchtime. My friends and I often planned our schedules so we could have a lunch hour at Garrett.
More monumentally, Garrett Conference Center was where I happened to be when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded before the eyes of the world on January 28, 1986. All the networks had already cut to the shuttle launch, so we saw it unfold in real time.
I always enjoyed the mid-century architecture and interior design at Garrett, but it has succumbed to a new chapter in the life of the university.
The area will now be used as a green space and for pedestrian walkways, according to WBKO-Bowling Green. The addition of local restaurants is said to be a part of the plan.
Aesthetically, it will bring Western into the 21st century, which is great. And, honestly, I can't wait to see the "finished product."
But I also bet I'll feel that dent in the wonderful nostalgia that I experience when I go down there.